Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor



This ethnographic study provides contextual definitions of religious-centered frames for communication in an Irish-American and a Slovak-American parish. Spatial behavior patterns which appear incident to ethnic traditions and patterns associated with Roman Catholicism which do not appear to vary significantly across ethnic parishes are both described. The context control methodology employed is adapted from the microanalytic study of multimodal communication behavior. A detailed explication of the evolving methodological process reveals relevant cultural contrasts in interview negotiations and hospitality patterns. Data analyses include informant interviews and observations made in analogously controlled conditions in a variety of comparable locations in each church and in the dwelling space of both clergy and laity. Historical depth to empirical observations is provided by a through-time description of the two cultural groups and their migration and settlement patterns. Church doctrine and architectural history provides technical insights regarding the liturgical significance of ritual behaviors patterns.